No designer heels in Oxford Street

“Am I getting lotion?!”, two glistering, blue eyes look at me. A man from around 50 years old sits on a piece of carton in front of a store. “Oh, I am going to smell good!”, a cry of laughter escapes between the two teeth he has left. The man looks dirty and his clothes old. It is 7:15 p.m. and the last day of Fashionweek. During the day I had my last show, now I walk around Oxford Street with food boxes. 

It is a chilly evening. The homeless man wears an orange jacket, gloves with holes in it and a dirty looking hat. “Would you like to have some salad?”, I ask him. “No.” The man is not interested in healthy food. He only wants the showergel and some popcorn. “Thank you so much! God bless you.” The face of the man glows of happiness. He looks like a child who just got the birthday present he wanted. I will never forget that smile. I wave him goodbye and with some salads, popcorn and more lotion in my hands I walk further, with a smile on my face.

The face of the man glows of happiness.

The Model Zone
What a contrast with the Model Zone. The Model zone is a special suite for models – only open during Fashionweek – in a fivestar hotel, the Mayfair hotel. In this suite models can relax in between or after their castings. There is free food (model proof food, like low carb salads), free drinks, access to Wifi (very usefull to search for casting adresses) and room to watch television and relax on a large sofa (which is most of the time occupied). Models can even get free goodiebags from Weleda, massages, facial treatments and sport advice. New this year is the bra fitting advice (I am wondering if models will really go to the Model Zone for bra advice, but you never know. It can be useful).

(Photos in the Model Zone)

Earlier that day – 6 p.m.! I change into my own clothes and check the time. I have one hour to go from my job to my appartment and then back to the Mayfair hotel. I thank the team and the designer.  I grab some make-up remover from the table and try to get rid of my smokey eyes. It is not really working, so I give up and decide that it will go home with this new panda look. I try to sneek behind some backstage photographers to the exit and in my hurry I take an apple to eat while I am on my way.

I decide to go home with this new panda look

The Model Zone usually closes at 7 p.m. The leftovers will be thrown away. I noticed this and asked the staff if it was possible to take the leftovers home. I got permission, but had to take my own boxes to put the food in.

So after my last show I run home to get a bunch of plastic boxes. At the modelzone I ask some models if they want to join me and together with four other models we walk across Oxford Street. It is not hard to find homeless people, they are everywhere. Most people walk across them and try to avoid them, this is what I usually do as well. But not today, because we are giving away food and goodies.

Here, in the street you do not see fancy looking people like at a fashion show sitting on the first row. It is such a big contrast. There is no front row, you do not see designer heels or nice jewelry. Most of the homeless people sit on a piece of carton. “Look how well we get treated!”, says a homeless man excited to his dog. Talking to those people makes you realise how good your own life is.

Talking to those people makes you realise how good your own life is

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